English 11 AP Literary Terms

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Last updated: April 22, 2019

Imagery
A term that incorporates all sensory perceptions. Can be Allusions, Similes, Metaphors, or Motion

Structure
The way writing is put together, such as stanzas, paragraphs, ect.

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Syntax
Sentence structure. Must connect to argument or another part of the house

Theme
Central idea or statement that unites an entire book, dissertation, ect. It runs throughout and is the primary argument

Motif
A subset of theme, it is a reappearing object or thing that is symbolic of something.

Allusion
Use of influence of historical, cultural, Biblical, ect. elements. Understandable by most people

Apostrophe
talking to an idea, emotion, person, ect. that is not present. Ex. Prayer

Anathema
Something that is very distasteful.

Archetype
Stock element, stays the same. It is usually determined by culture. Ex. Wicked Stepmom

Cliche
Highly overused expression. Created through truth, but the overuse of it robbed it of complexity and meaning.

Dramatic Irony
Found mostly in plays, kit is an element or convention of drama.

Structural Irony
Reversal found in the structure of something.

Epithet
Links two words together to characterize someone. Ex. “Richard the Lion-Hearted”

Euphemism
A soft way of putting a harsh fact.

Hyperbole
Exaggeration that is powerful and purposeful

Idiom
Expression that is localized to geography, region, groups, ect. It is considered colloquial.

Inversion
Reversing the order of words in a sentence or reversing entire sentences.

It is used to create an impact when providing information, making a point, ect.

Irony
The use of reversal, when what is said in a message is in conflict with the truth, character, ect.

Colloquial
Localized slang. Best avoided in writing.

Jargon
Vocabulary that is limited to a specific occupation

Litotes
A deliberate understatement that serves as a statement.

Ex. That was no small task.

Meiosis
Understatement to belittle or put down. Ex.: A lawyer defending a schoolboy who has set fire to his school might call the act of arson a “prank.” In this case using meiosis to attempt to diminish the significance of what he had done (in this case grand arson) to the level of a harmless joke or minor act of vandalism.

Metaphor
Direct comparison of two different things without like or as.

It is more powerful than simile.

Metonymy
A type of metaphorical language or metaphor. It refers to something by referring to something related to it. Ex. Police and Badge

Oxymoron
A contradictory term Ex. Civil War, Jumbo Shrimp.

Paradox
Statement that appears to be false but is true in reality. It is used to further an argument

Personification
Attributing human qualities to an inanimate object.

Symbol
A concrete item that represents an abstract idea. Do not get it confused with “refers:, ect.

Synechdoche
Uses a part to explain a whole or a whole to explain a part. ex. Lend me an ear.

Tragic Irony
Elemts of tragedy that starts good and ends bad. The opposite may also hold true

Tropes
A very fancy word for “figure of speech.

Verbal irony
Irony found in what is said

Allegory
An extended metaphor, in which it may personify abstract ideas

Aphorism
A sharp saying. If used enough, it becomes a Cliche

Dirge
Musical, mournfu lsong or expression

Elegy
Poem of mourning

Threnody
Song or hymn of mourning

Monody
Praise for the death of a person. Ex. “He’s in a better place.

Eulogy
Speech in praise of someone’s life. Can have poetic qualities that make it like an elegy.

Genres
Type of form of literature, music, ect.

Epic
Long poem about a hero

Epistle
A letter or letters

Epitaph
Inscription on gravestones.

Usually two lines long and describes someone.

Fable
A short story using animals or the like that gives a preachy and moralistic theme.

Homily
An instructional, moralistic, inspiring sermon.

It is lighter than an actual sermon

Lyric
Verse that focuses in an idea or emotion. It is not a narrative.

Mock Ironic
To belittle at various degrees

Narrative
A story

Novel
A long story

Novelle
A piece longer than a short story, but not as long as a novel. Ex. Billy Budd

Parody
Mocking of something serious in the same structure of the serious object.

Prose
A form that is not poetry

Sardonic
Hopeless and bitter sarcasm.

Satire
Uses a reversal to bring light to problems. The intention is to make something better

Sonnet
A fixed form of poetry. It is 14 lines, has a particular rhyme scheme and thought development

Tragedy
Something that begins hopefully, but ends tragically

Verse
Not prose, but poetry.

Rhetoric
All the appeal of the house. They are the tools to make the point clear and used with the argument.

Ad hominem
The fallacy of attacking a person rather than his argument.

Antithesis
The opposite of something

Casual Reasoning
Reasoning having to do with a cause. One thought leads to another

Circular Reasoning
Reasoning that ends and begins in the same place. No evidence is offered

Coinage/ Neologism
Creating new words

Sarcasm
Involves a reversal, the intention being to pick on or hurt

Deductive Reasoning
Reasoning in which ideas are at the beginning and proof follows. Essays, textual commentary, and loose sentences are deductive

Either/ or Reasoning
A black or white type of thinking, where there are only absolutes.

Inductive Reasoning
Reasoning in which ideas come at the end. Global commentary and periodic sentences are inductive

Logical Fallacy
Way of supporting facts that are not logically sound.

Non sequitor
A break in logical progression. All logical fallacies are non sequitors

Pathetic Fallacy
Fallacy of emotion

Red- Herring
A purposeful digression meant to confuse

Refutation/ Refute
To prove wrong or incorrect

Resources of Language
Rhetorical devices, strategies, ect.

used to determine the message

Rhetorical Question
Question not meant to be answered but to draw attention to a point.

Rhetorical Shift
A change in mood accompanied by a change in nuance. The focus may shift and it is frequently introduced with “But” or “so”

Rhetorical Strategies
Devices of language, ect.

Strawman
The fallacy of taking an argument that no one will attack.

Syllogism
Form of reasoning in which it goes to major premise, minor premise, and then conclusion. Ex. a=b, so b=a

Zeugma
Uniting a single verb to refer to different objects, for which one does not fit. It is essential denotative in meaning for one and connotative for the other.

Alliteration
Repetition of initial, usually consonant sounds. Used to affect the pace or tone. It is also an umbrella term for “Assonance”

Sibilance
A type of alliteration in which the “s” sound is repeated.

Cacophonous
A strident sounding word or sound

Euphonious
Very soft sounding

Assonance
Repetition of initial vowel sounds.

Blank Verse
Unruled poetry

Caesura
A break mid line in poetry (with punctuation) to affect meter and tone.

Qualifying
Use to adjust or modify the precedent or after.

Consonance
Repetition of internal consonant sounds followed by a different vowel sound.

End- Stop Rhyme
Poetry in which punctuation is at the end.

Onomatopoeia
Word for which the sound suggests its meaning

Rhyme
Similar sound at the end of a sentence

Anadiplosis
A technique in which the word at the end is the same as the start for the next sentence.

Anaphora
Repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases.

Antimetabole
Repetition of a phrase in reversed order.

Asyndeton
Linking of words or phrases with punctuation rather than conjunctions. It tightens the image and quickens the speed. It may also produce a sense of overwhelming.

Chiasmus
Reverse in syntax, but words are different. Ex.

to eat is boring, to sleep is fulfilling.

Cumulative Sentence
Loose sentence. The main part is at the begging and the proof is at the end. It is deductive.

Balanced Sentence
Grammatically balanced. Antithesis is usually involved. Ex.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Ellipsis
Omission of words, often signified by three dots (…)

Epanalepsis
Words start and end a sentence. Ex. Blood will have blood.

Interrupted Sentence
A sentence that has a thrown in part usually with dashes (- – )

Loose Sentence
The topic or point is in the beginning.

Polysyndeton
Shoves “ands” and conjunctions to link ideas, things, ect. It too creates a sense of overwhelming

Ambiguity
What is unclear. Warrants closer attention

Anecdote
A personal story to illustrate a point.

Elliptical Sentence
When a portion of it is gone, but the whole still makes sense

Annotation
The act of putting in marginal thought

Antecedent
The word a pronoun replaces. Can come before or after the pronoun.

Atmosphere
The tine and mood of a work

Connotation
The emotional definition of a word

Conventional
Specific and standard

Denotation
the dictionary meaning or a word

Devices
Tools. The House.

Diction
An author’s word choice

Didactic
Teacher like or parable like tone.

Explication
Breaking down something into part to explain how the argument is built.

Generic Conventions
What is common to a genre.

Inference
To gain meaning from something that is not directly said

Invective
A put down or one liner. Usually harsh, angry, profane, ect.

Mood
Atmosphere and tone

Narrative Devices
Tools used to tell the story.

Organization
The subset of structure, it is how the piece is put together.

Pedantic/ Bombastic
The attempt of using elevated language.

It is overly educated and does not fit.

Persuasive Devices
Tools used to persuade. It is a form of rhetoric.

Phrase point of view
Angle from which something is being written or told.

Omniscient POV
All knowing and god-like in knowledge narrator

Limited Omniscience POV
Almost all knowing narrator

Objective POV
Unbiased in perspective

Stream of Consciousness POV
The first thing that comes to mind is said

Rhetorical Mode
Types of writing, genres

Expository
Used to explain or reveal

Persuasive
to convince using emotion.

Synonymous with argumentative on the test.

Argumentative
Intellectual based persuasion. Synonymous with persuasive on the test.

Descriptive
Details

Unity
Cohesion

Protagonist
Main character

Antagonist
One who opposes the main character

Bathos
Something that is tricvial or unintentionally anticlimactic.

Burlesque
Vaudeville or low class humor

Pun
Humorous play on words

Anthropomorphism
Giving an animal the traits of a human.

Vernacular
Common speak

Anachronism
Old and Outdated

Malapropism
Word similar to another that is mistakenly substituted .

Carpe diem
The most common interpretation of the phrase is as an existential cautionary term with emphasis on making the most of current opportunities because life is short and time is fleeting. It is thematically related to several other expressions and phrases

Confidant/ Confidante
Male and female you confide in.

Utopia
A perfect place

Dystopia
A nightmarish, hellish place

Empathy vs. Sympathy
To feel true pain and understanding for and to intellectually simulate another pain, respectively. The latter may have an air of superiority.

Epiphany
Sudden awakening or realization

Microcosm
View of the world through something small. Ex. Lord of the Flies

Persona
The image, point of view, persona, and tone one assumes.

Surreal
Out of reality

Verisimilitude
trying to articulate how a false theory could be closer to the truth than another false theory.

Audience
Whom the writer is addressing.

Lexicon
Level of language register

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